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Robin Boylorn (2008)

Participants as Co-Researchers

In: The SAGE encyclopedia of qualitative research methods, ed. by L. Given. Sage Publications Ltd, California, chap. 15, pp. 600-602.

Participants as co-researchers refers to a participatory method of research that situates participants as joint contributors and investigators to the findings of a research project. This qualitative research approach validates and privileges the experiences of participants, making them experts and therefore co-researchers and collaborators in the process of gathering and interpreting data. In traditional research, the researcher is assumed to be the authority figure who will collect, interpret, and situate the findings while the participant (or “researched”) merely represents the community being investigated. In these situations, the researcher and participant (or organization) have a time-limited relationship that expires when the research project is complete. This method is an interdisciplinary approach often used in the social sciences, including but not limited to feminist or women's studies, health communication, sociology, and anthropology. Participant involvement in the research process varies and can be seen as beneficial or problematic.

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